Help! Ram's Head Turning Black?!?

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madelyn anne

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Freaking out right now, very worried for my GBRs.

I have 3 GBRs, one is a pair, the other is a solo male (I believe he's a male, could be wrong.) I've had them a few weeks, and they've been doing great. No issues whatsoever, it's been easy breezy.

Fast forward to three days ago, and I notice that the single male is alone, hiding, and breathing HEAVILY. He has been doing this for 3 days straight now. Hiding, not moving, just breathing extremely heavily. Today, he refused food as well.

Now, on one half of my GBR pair, I noticed a ginormous black spot that's overtaken the side of his face! His behavior is fine; swimming, chasing, playing, eating, etc. No concern behaviorally, however this wasn't there before, and this doesn't look normal (see pics below)

Does ANYBODY know what I can do? I am raising the temp a bit to about 84 degrees. The other fish in the tank seem to be doing well, and are acting normal.

Water Parameters;

pH - 7.0
Nitrate: 10-20 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm

Any sort of info would be greatly appreciated, I'm extremely concerned for my fishies and can't bear to lose something else today. I experienced a major loss this afternoon and don't want to add ANY sort of additional loss on my plate at the moment.

The photos are of the one GBR who's got the black side of his face, the video is of the lethargic GBR who's breathing heavily.

Thanks!

xx



gbr1xx.jpg gbr2xx.jpg gbr3xx.jpg
 
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etkelly22

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First I would try to raise your temp slowly to atleast 78, these guys prefer 78-84, but do best in low 80's. Second, you should try to find out if they were in tap or RO at the store, because they need soft water, and switching from one to another can be hard on them, especially because they aren't the hardiest. As for the color change, I would monitor but wouldn't be too worried if he's acting okay. Mine tend to also change colors at times.

But 74 is way too low for these guys
 
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Adriifu

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I'm kind of stumped. You can increase oxygenation with an airstone to help with their breathing. If this is just impacting the rams, then this is possibly just an issue with water parameters and their preferences. Like etkelly22 said, increasing the temperature can help. Other than that, I have no idea what's going on. Sorry
 
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madelyn anne

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Sorry guys, typo - the temp is actually 84 NOT 74. I know, 74 is WAY too cold for GBRs.
 
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etkelly22

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madelyn anne said:
Sorry guys, typo - the temp is actually 84 NOT 74. I know, 74 is WAY too cold for GBRs.
Did you say whether they're in tap or RO? They're a tough fish to keep and sadly aren't very forgiving.

The only other thing I could think is that the solo male could be depressed/getting picked on by the pair, same thing happened in my tank. You may want to monitor to make sure he isn't being bullied.
 
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madelyn anne

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etkelly22 said:
Did you say whether they're in tap or RO? They're a tough fish to keep and sadly aren't very forgiving.
Tap water, not R/O. I know, they aren't the most hardy, I just really fell in love with them. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to give them the home that they need. I just hope they come through whatever this is.

etkelly22 said:
The only other thing I could think is that the solo male could be depressed/getting picked on by the pair, same thing happened in my tank. You may want to monitor to make sure he isn't being bullied.
I do monitor the tank very closely, and there is no bullying going on. I believe these guys were raised all together. The pair and the solo one get along very well actually, and the pair will actually go and check on the sick/lethargic one every once in a while. They do all swim together, too, usually, just not anymore now that he's feeling so poorly. The only signs of aggression that I saw was when the pair were exhibiting breeding behaviors, and one of them would chase the single guy off. Other than that, nothing. Everyone in the tank gets along very well, even aside from the GBRs.

Adriifu said:
Discusluv
I'm kind of stumped. You can increase oxygenation with an airstone to help with their breathing. If this is just impacting the rams, then this is possibly just an issue with water parameters and their preferences. Like etkelly22 said, increasing the temperature can help. Other than that, I have no idea what's going on. Sorry
What could I do to improve my parameters to suit their needs? I thought a reading of 10/0/0 and a pH of 7.0 was about perfect. I did turn on my bubble bar in my tank to increase the oxygen levels, to see if that'll help the little one.
 
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etkelly22

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I also kept them in tap, it's very possible, but they do not like change in the water parameters all. So if your paramaters have changed drastically, that also may play into it. Other than that, I'm not sure what could be going on.
 
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madelyn anne

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My water parameters have not changed drastically at all, although my tank has just finished cycling, the changes were extremely gradual. I'm very careful to make sure I don't make any changes that I can control to their water quality unless done so very gradually.

I'm just totally stumped as well. I wish I knew at least what TYPE of infection/disease this was, so I could treat it. But since I don't, I don't know how to treat it.

 
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Cas88

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madelyn anne said:
My water parameters have not changed drastically at all, although my tank has just finished cycling, the changes were extremely gradual. I'm very careful to make sure I don't make any changes that I can control to their water quality unless done so very gradually.

I'm just totally stumped as well. I wish I knew at least what TYPE of infection/disease this was, so I could treat it. But since I don't, I don't know how to treat it.
Hey there so your gbr that is breathing heavy that happen to me he was hiding and stopped eating and eventual couldn’t even stay floating properly.. turns out he got gill flukes, if u research they are very prone to that I️ caught in time and put him in qt and treated with copper safe and salt and it worked with I️n 3 days he was 100% .. unfortunately 1 month later he now has dropsy but believe it or not I’m on the verge to a recover with him.. this guy is a trooper
 
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madelyn anne

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Gill flukes, eh? Thanks for the info, I'll look into it. Is this something that's contagious to other fish? It sounds like your little ram really is a trooper! I'm glad he's doing better and seems to be recovering! Hope I can say the same for my little fella.
 
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DoubleDutch

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My first thought is maturing / natural colloring.
 
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madelyn anne

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DoubleDutch said:
My first thought is maturing / natural colloring.
I've thought about this, however the coloring isn't in a natural pattern whatsoever. I have not seen another healthy GBR with this discoloration.

Also, update: the sick little GBR with the heavy breathing, Phoebe, has planted herself between the bubble bar and the back pane of glass, very isolated, on the sand. She's refusing to move, even allowing the Cories to climb over her, still breathing extremely heavily. I doubt she'll make it through the night. </3
 
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Harlequin

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I have had my ups and downs with Rams. They spawned several times but one of the parents died, bought a new one, the other one died, bought a new one, both parents died. Yesterday I bought a friend for my only survivor from one of the spawns... We'll see how it goes, I have them in a bigger tank with KuhlI loaches now.
What I can say is that I have observed this "half face turning dark or black colour change" on one of the parent fish after his female died and I had purchased another female for him. He "recovered" and lived several months after, spawning again-which is where my 1 survivor is from.
I read somewhere at the time that black colouring can be a sign of bad mood?!? Like them feeling low or angry?
As for heavy breathing-all 4 of my original parent ones had that before passing away and 3 of them behaved exactly like yours...the 4th one was eating and active but heavy breathing for 1 day before passing away that night...sorry for long post but I feel like you: Really sensitive fish but I fell in love with them....
 
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Cas88

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madelyn anne said:
Gill flukes, eh? Thanks for the info, I'll look into it. Is this something that's contagious to other fish? It sounds like your little ram really is a trooper! I'm glad he's doing better and seems to be recovering! Hope I can say the same for my little fella.
Idk if it’s contagious, no one else caught it in the Tank and yea today I️ checked him he’s fully curd ready to go back in .. definitly trooper lol how’s urs doing now?
 
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madelyn anne

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Harlequin said:
I have had my ups and downs with Rams. They spawned several times but one of the parents died, bought a new one, the other one died, bought a new one, both parents died. Yesterday I bought a friend for my only survivor from one of the spawns... We'll see how it goes, I have them in a bigger tank with KuhlI loaches now.
What I can say is that I have observed this "half face turning dark or black colour change" on one of the parent fish after his female died and I had purchased another female for him. He "recovered" and lived several months after, spawning again-which is where my 1 survivor is from.
I read somewhere at the time that black colouring can be a sign of bad mood?!? Like them feeling low or angry?
As for heavy breathing-all 4 of my original parent ones had that before passing away and 3 of them behaved exactly like yours...the 4th one was eating and active but heavy breathing for 1 day before passing away that night...sorry for long post but I feel like you: Really sensitive fish but I fell in love with them....
I'm so sorry for your Rams. I know, they're such beauties with such awesome personalities. WHY CAN'T THEY BE HARDIER?
 
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madelyn anne

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Update: No change in the Rams. The one who's doing the heavy breathing in isolation is still doing that, very much so. The one with the black side of the face is still active, hungry, etc.

I guess it's just observe and wait. I just hope they pull through, I really love GBR's and I really love these guys especially.
 
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Adriifu

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madelyn anne said:
Update: No change in the Rams. The one who's doing the heavy breathing in isolation is still doing that, very much so. The one with the black side of the face is still active, hungry, etc.

I guess it's just observe and wait. I just hope they pull through, I really love GBR's and I really love these guys especially.
Good luck Hopefully they make it.
 
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madelyn anne

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Update 2: Little one who's breathing is fast and labored has lost all coloring to her. She looks extremely pale. The other GBRs know something is up...because they've come over to her and comforted her/protected her. They are keeping Oscar, my juvenile Angelfish (who will try to eat any fish who's dead/barely moving) away from her. It's really sweet. Amazing, actually.

EDIT: Little girl has lost control of her swimming ability. She can't swim, can only glide along the bottom of the tank or move her fins to stay in place.

I would be shocked if my little GBR makes it through another night.
As for the other one, with the black face, he's still acting great.
 
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DarkOne

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Sorry to hear about your sick GBRs. Hope they recover. I just picked up a pair yesterday/today (long story).
 
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OnTheFly

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This doesn't help you any today but as your tank matures it should get easier. I've done just the same as you did, and got by with it, but these fish are not easy to acclimate and a new tank doesn't make it easier. Guess I am saying don't give up, but restock slowly if this round ends bad.
 
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Cas88

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madelyn anne said:
Update 2: Little one who's breathing is fast and labored has lost all coloring to her. She looks extremely pale. The other GBRs know something is up...because they've come over to her and comforted her/protected her. They are keeping Oscar, my juvenile Angelfish (who will try to eat any fish who's dead/barely moving) away from her. It's really sweet. Amazing, actually.

EDIT: Little girl has lost control of her swimming ability. She can't swim, can only glide along the bottom of the tank or move her fins to stay in place.

I would be shocked if my little GBR makes it through another night.
As for the other one, with the black face, he's still acting great.
Wat med are u using ... use coppersafe with some salt and she will come back .. it works trust me mine was pretty much just floating also
 
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madelyn anne

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Unfortunately, the little one who was breathing heavily and stuck at the bottom of the tank has passed away. She will be missed, sweet little Ram.

My other GBR with the black spot on his face is doing better, the black spot is going away, so there's a silver lining there.
The other fish in the tank seem to be doing great.

xx
 
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Cas88

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madelyn anne said:
Unfortunately, the little one who was breathing heavily and stuck at the bottom of the tank has passed away. She will be missed, sweet little Ram.

My other GBR with the black spot on his face is doing better, the black spot is going away, so there's a silver lining there.
The other fish in the tank seem to be doing great.

xx
She was a good fish.. but that good that ur other is improving I’ll keep it in mind if mine getthat symptom
 
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madelyn anne

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Cas88 said:
She was a good fish.. but that good that ur other is improving I’ll keep it in mind if mine getthat symptom
Definitely do. The face turning black was definitely concerning but he's still acting normal and the blackness is fading.
Although the one correlation I noticed between the GBR with the black side of his face, and the one who was breathing quickly and passed, was that the little one who passed and was breathing extremely fast started losing ALL her colors last night and started turning black all over. By the time I found her dead this morning, she was 100% black - including her pretty orange eyes. Was quite shocking, and very sad to see such an absolutely gorgeous fish fade and get so sick that she lost all of her beauty. Poor little sweet thing. </3
 
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Adriifu

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Poor thing.. Sorry for your loss
 
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ImperialJoe

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OnTheFly said:
This doesn't help you any today but as your tank matures it should get easier. I've done just the same as you did, and got by with it, but these fish are not easy to acclimate and a new tank doesn't make it easier. Guess I am saying don't give up, but restock slowly if this round ends bad.
Yep I agree from reading through this thread and looking at the pictures I'm wondering if it was stress induced and allowed for some immune health compromise seeing as this was a newly cycled tank the parameters would have increased from a higher bioload granted not a big addition but still. Keep in mind that nitrifying bacteria grows to the size of the bioload so when you add new fish the bacteria plays catch up. nitrosomonas and nitrobacter replicate every 24 hours or so I'm sure you tested for ammonia and trates after adding the fish but just something to think about.

The other factor I'm thinking is the water hardness sure rams can acclimate to tap but you have to know what water there coming from and do it gradually any idea what your tap water hardness is ? I usually use a electronic TDS meter for testing hardness it's a lot faster then the API liquid tests lol


Hope some of this helps don't be hesitant to try rams again and quality stock/acclimation is very key to long term health
 
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